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Underbody braces, turbos and more!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 1:12 am 
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King of Pompous
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A few members here have wanted to glass up a tire well enclosure. I did a "replace your back seat" enclosure a while back and today came the oportunity to do a well enclosure in a Swift. Here's how it works....

Supplies:

Wood to make a frame.
Resin.
Fiberglass weave and/or chop mat.
Duct tape.
Tin foil.
Cheap paint brushes.
Stir sticks.
Acetone. (only if you plan on cleaning your brushes and re-using them) I buy a bunch of brushes and throw them away after each use.
Very well ventilated area.



1. First thing you want to do is completely cover the area your working on with foil and duct tape. This stops the resin from bonding to the car and rendering your enclosure impossible to remove once it's cured. You can't see it in the pic here because I've already covered it but I used a piece of cardboard to make a flat ledge on the bracket where the jack is supposed to be. I did this to stop the fiberglass from sinking into it and getting the enclosure stuck in the car once it wass cured. You want the layers of foil to overlap and make sure they are all sealed well with the tape.
Image

this next pic just shows how far up I went in the back. You'd be suprised at how much resin can wick off of a brush and splatter onto things you don't want it on....
Image

2. Once you have the foil all layed down nice you can start laying the glass. I prefer an extra measure of caution (you never know where there may be a small puncture in the foil that the resin will find) and I completely cover the foil with a layer of duct tape. This makes it a bit more time consuming but your guarantied that your box will pop out after it's cured. When the resin is curing it also melts the adhesive of the duct tape...makes it a little messier to pull of the enclosure...but also helps it pop out easier. Once your done covering the floor and everything is sealed your ready to go. I make a frame to attach the fiberglass to. This should actualy be step 1 which would bring the total steps up to 5 but I didn't take pics of it :P. For this particular enclosure it measures 5" high but you can make it shallower. The sub going into this enclosure needs a lot of air so building up helped get the correct airspace. I used pine BTW because you can buy it in 10' lengths and it's way lighter than MDF. You can also see in this pic some clear plastic. I use this to seperate the front of the car from the back. This keeps all the smells from the resin to your work area and it doesn't stink up the rest of the car.
Image

3. Everybody has their own way of laying glass. I prefer to cut my first and second layers to fit and then "tack" them down with a chunk of ducts tape. I also staple the edges to the frame. This ensures that when I start laying the resin it won't move as much. You will have to dab some resin on thise spots after you pop the enclosure out because the resin won't penetrate the tape. You'll see the dry spots when you flip the enclosure upside down. I use woven mat for my first layer because it holds together a bit better than chop but it really doesn't matter what you use. It's personal preference...and the weave costs a bit more. I use chop mat for the rest of the build.
Image

4. Mix a batch of resin. I use 1L at a time on hot days because it cures faster. On "normal" days you can mix more once you get used to it and get a lot more layers done in once shot. Do read the mixing charts on your containers. Too cold a mix and it'll never cure...too hot and it'll start to smoke and crack. Cover every inch of the fiberglass and make sure that it soaks right through. Your first layer will look clear once it's saturated. Keep some torn chunks of chop matt in case you end up with pools of resin at the bottom of the enclosure. Soak these pools up by pressing in the chunks of mat. I use a 4" brush to paint the resin on. I keep a 2" brush with the bristles cut down to half their length to push air bubbles out of the resin as well as to push the resin into the mat. You usualy have about 10-12 minutes before the resin becomes to thick to use so work fast but don't go nuts. Once you get used to using fiberglass you can mix your batches hotter and save yourself a bit of time. My batched give me about 7 minutes. Doesn't sound like much but after 15-20 layers of mat those 3 minutes saved start to add up :D. BTW...don't let the glass go over the edges of the frame. Your going to need it nice and flat for when you mount the baffle board to it. This pic shows a single layer on the sides and three for the base.
Image

That's basically it in a nutshell. You'll want the thickness to be at least a 1/4" thick. It'll take a few layers to build it up that thick unless you have a heavier cloth. You can carefully pop the enclosure out after two layers of glass are in and finish the project out of the car though. After your layers are built up put a board (baffle) on top of the frame and mount your sub to it. The enclosure I'm working on will have a fiberglass top as well so I haven't got any pics of the board but you get the idea. All in all you should be able to complete a project like this in one day (using a baffle board) and it'll do wonders for the sound in your car. To do a fiberglass top will take a lot more time to properly build it and prep it for paint.

I'll keep this FAQ going once I get started on the top portion of the enclosure for those of you who wish to have something a little more shapely than a flat top.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:13 am 
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abby normal
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:huh: Are you going to sticky this or will it attach itself?.. :)

Excellent idea, it should sound better than the "sub in the spare" trick. :thumb2:


Very cool. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:15 am 
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I remember Auto Sound & Security did something like this for the "racers" out there back in 1995-1996.I say this is a great idea,for easy removal,a semi flush enclosure(hmm no people getting nosey). Too bad no KP's cant be given,cause this deserves alot.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 2:58 pm 
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El Pimpo del Geo

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:clap: awsome writeup so basically to glass where the backseat was use the same method like tinfoil n duct tape?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 3:46 pm 
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itsageo wrote:
:clap: awsome writeup so basically to glass where the backseat was use the same method like tinfoil n duct tape?

is that why you still havent put your seats back in rob


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 4:00 pm 
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El Pimpo del Geo

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that and lighter = better fuel mileage

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:26 pm 
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King of Pompous
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itsageo wrote:
:clap: awsome writeup so basically to glass where the backseat was use the same method like tinfoil n duct tape?


Its the same idea. Tire well is easier though ;). I did a write up for the "take up your back seat" enclosure as well. Its in the stereo section FAQ.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:35 pm 
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Heres a quick update on the top build portion with fiberglass. Sorry I didn't get all the pics for it. The pics missing would be the one that shows how the rings were mounted and the stretched cloth before resin. In this enclosure I used a piece of wood the spanned across the enclosure and let me angle it where I wanted it. The first ring was mounted to it. After the enclosure was covered I screwed the other ring from the top sandwiching the fleece between the two. I would have liked to have a steeper angle but I had to allow clearance for the strut brace that was going to be installed and I also wanted to use up as little of the precious airspace as I could. It doesn't look bad in these pics but as I build it up with glass you will start losing depth. I have a few ways around this normaly but I'm trying to keep the weight down.

So the first pic basicaly shows the top board that was cut to the contour of the hatch area. If you weren't gonna fiberglass the top part you would do this and cut your speaker hole in it and be done with it....well maybe cover it with carpet.

Image

The next pics skip the steps of mounting the rings and stretching the cloth over it all. You can mount the rings in any way you want. Dowel can be used and hot glue is the next best thing to physicaly attaching it to the enclosure. I was able to screw a piece of wood into the enclosure to attach the ring to. I didn't have grille cloth which is by far the easiest fabric to stretch over odd shapes. It takes more layers of fiberglass to build it up though. All I had in the garage was Fishmat which is rather expensive car audio specific fabric. Its very thick to build up fast and if you stretch it and find out you made a mistake it doesn't stretch back the way that grille cloth does. It does, however, soak up a ton of resin (I used a half gallon on the top in these pics) which makes it strong enough to move around a bit after the first cure without worry of it cracking. I still prefer typical grille cloth/fleece blankets from the dolar store. Same end result and a lot cheaper. This is what it looks like after a coat of resin...

Image

Image

You can't see the angle too well in these pics but it will be quite noticable with the finished product. Next up will be the layering of fiberglass to get everything all nice and rigid. I'm likely going port this enclosure as well so I'll take pics on how I add it to the top of the enclosure. You could put it in before the first layer goes down but this allows me to get a better idea of how the enlcosure looks now and how I can incorporate it into the flowing lines. Also have to add some nice terminals to it as the sub will be inverted and you'll see the wires goind to it. Then the most fun part of all....bondo and all kinds of sanding...and then more sanding...and then more sanding..and then more sanding.....:P

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 1:29 am 
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King of Pompous
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The fiberglass has now been laid up. You can see the transition of colour from where I went thicker. The darker part near the edges sites on the 3/4" wood so it obviously doesn't need to be as thick.

Image

After the first layer of Bondo and almost finished sanding. Ran out of pads so I couldn't finish up the first layer. Its close though and will likely only need another layer or two. Its also still decently light. If you wanted to be as light as possible you wouldn't go with any funky shapes like this one but instead with a slightly concave or convex top...raw fiberglass with maybe a quick sanding and a coat of rocker guard. You would also use grill cloth for the first layer instead of thicker fleece which soaks up a lot of resin even though it doesn't add strength. It wouldn't be as pretty but it wouldn't weigh anything either ;).

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:39 pm 
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King of Pompous
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Updating with a few more pics. The pics show it primed but there is still some sanding to do still :shock:. The primer just lets me see the smaller flaws that disapear when the enclosure is a mix of colours (from the glass and bondo layers). It also makes the pic a little better :P. Basicaly its down to adding a few dabs of Bondo here and there...sanding it down to get rid of pinholes and flatten it out as much as possible...and then sanding it with increasingly finer grits up to 800-1000 and then a proper prep for paint. If you wanted to vinyl your enclosure this is basicaly the stage where it needs to be at to get a good final product. A little more sanding on the edges would be needed to get good adhesion from the contact cement though. On with the pics...

You can see the brace I used to hold the mounting ring in place.
Image

I placed the sub on top so that you can see the curve a bit better. Sunlight and mat finishes don't show up well with the camera.

Image

This pic shows some of the waves (around the speaker) that need to be sanded out as well as a decent gouge that will need a small fill.

Image

With any luck it will be ready for paint on Monday and with a little bit more luck I can get it sprayed and into the car by Tuesday...then I just need a CD player, amp, and more wire :roll:. Pics will follow of the finished product.

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 9:22 pm 
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Well I put a coat of black on it and I think I'll resand it :P. It has a few more undulations than what I want to see in the finished product. It gives you an idea of what it will look like though. I figure on another hour or so of sanding and maybe another touch of bondo here or there and it should be perfect. I hate to say it but I rushed a bit on this one and I shouldn't have. We had some nice weather the last couple of days and I won't have any time in the next couple of weeks to work on it. Ahh well...more sanding should be a lesson well learned ;).



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 8:43 pm 
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Heres another pic of the tire well enclosure for those of you who don't want to bother with the fiberglass top. Obviously this takes a lot less time to build. basicaly finish the enclosure with a wood top and add a beauty panel on it to make it look good. The white dot on this one is actualy a port...its white because there is a blue LED under it to make it glow at night...for the ricers ;).

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 10:09 am 
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Nice rightup. I might try this in another car of mine. I try and keep the swifts light as possible. Good job. You have any pics of the finished product installed with the strut brace?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 10:33 am 
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The brace would just rest an inch or two above the enclosure. Mine is a little hard to take because the enclosure is black as is the bar so you lose everything in the pic :(.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:59 am 
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That came up well, i will have to follow this for when i make my enclosure.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:25 pm 
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You, Sir, Have inspired me.

Seems like you definitely know what you are doing. I have avoided "dropping a box into my spare tire well just because it would be just a box shaped like a tyre well just sitting there.... lame...

I think that I will try a bandpass, just so there is no speaker cone sticking out to be squished by any cargo that I may have to stow in the hatch section.

One of the reasons I joined team swift is because of members like your self whom take the time to share how they have made their rides the most unique and coolest sub compacts on the street ( or track).

Thank you for sharing!

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:11 pm 
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I should have posted a similar bunch of construction shots, but I fit 2x10" JBL's in the spare tire well while keeping it nearly flush w/ the original floor level & even re-using the original carpetting attached to the rear seatbacks. I made two wooden templates of the rear floor; the lower piece had a large spare tire well size cutout that I fiberglassed over & down into the well using a tinfoil liner much like M's, the second/top piece had cutouts for the wiring point & the speakers & ribbing to help stiffen it.
everything was sealed & screwed down to the body of the car for maximum rigidity & the sound was awesome, esp. for something that didn't interfere with cargo space.
image_id: 13326image_id: 13327

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:09 pm 
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Yup these systems sure do work well. Its nice to have something that sits flush and stays relatively hidden from prying eyes. Glad your inspired from it :D

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